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The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker, Book…

The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker, Book 6) (edition 2003)

by Orson Scott Card (Author)

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1,526149,090 (3.44)7
Using the lore and the folk-magic of the men and women who settled North America, Orson Scott Card has created an alternate world where magic works, and where that magic has colored the entire history of the colonies. Charms and beseechings, hexes and potions, all have a place in the lives of the people of this world. Dowsers find water, the second sight warns of dangers to come, and a torch can read a person's future--or their hearts.… (more)
Title:The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker, Book 6)
Authors:Orson Scott Card (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2003), Edition: 1st, 384 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Crystal City by Orson Scott Card


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English (13)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
hmmm if this is book 6 I've missed some, no wonder it felt fragmented
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Card is an extremely good writer, and his books are always a pleasure to read, but at times I did feel that the stories here occasionally suffered for being too allegorical, and too much about Card's ideas of morality.

6th, and at the moment last volume: 'The Crystal City.' Starting out at an unofficial orphanage for mixed-race children, Alvin unwittingly, by trying to help a sick woman, causes a plague of yellow fever, and ends up getting run out of town. Taking the orphans with him, and then meeting a voodoo queen, La Tia, Alvin somehow finds himself at the head of an 'army' of escaped slaves, freeing more as they make their way north, seeking a place to live free. Of course, these could be the citizens of Alvin's dream of a perfect city. And Abe Lincoln, a genial shopkeeper, will do what he can to help. Meanwhile, Calvin goes off with some decidedly not-nice men to conquer Mexico and kill everyone there - which seems to be OK, as they do human sacrifice. At the end, it is made overly clear that Alvin's vision is about the Mormon Tabernacle, which is a bit annoying. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Originally posted at FanLit. http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/the-crystal-city/

The Crystal City is the (maybe) final novel in Orson Scott Card??s TALES OF ALVIN MAKER. This series started off strongly with Seventh Son and Red Prophet, but it bogged down during books three and four (Prentice Alvin and Alvin Journeyman) and I was ready to give up. However, since I had already downloaded the audio version of the sixth book, The Crystal City, from my library, I decided to finish the series. (My library didnƒ??t have the fifth book, Heartfire, so I just read a plot summary of that one.)

Alvin and Peggy are married and have lost a child. Alvin continues his work as a Maker, trying to prepare people for his Crystal City, while Peggy is trying to end slavery. Alvin and Arthur are now in New Orleans. When Alvin heals a woman with yellow fever, she is well enough to go outside and spread it among the city, starting a plague. Alvin tries to heal as many as he can and, in the process, is suspected of witchery. Itƒ??s looking like a good time to leave New Orleans, so when a woman asks Alvin to lead thousands of runaway slaves and French refugees across the Mississippi river to freedom, he agrees to do it.

Thus The Crystal City is the Exodus story and Alvin is both a Moses figure and a Jesus figure. He teams up with his old friend Tenskwa-Tawa, the Red Prophet, to lead 5,000 people out of slavery and into the promised land. Other highlights include the introductions of Jim Bowie and Abraham Lincoln and, finally, Alvinƒ??s dawning understanding of his purpose and the beginnings of the crystal city.

The Crystal City was hard to get through for the same reason I had trouble with books three and four in this series. The plot drags because thereƒ??s too much brooding interior monologue and far too much teasing banter amongst the characters. Almost every conversation on nearly every page of the novel is snarky or sarcastic. This is usually playful (e.g.,ƒ? I hope I grow up to be as perfect as you!ƒ?) and it feels very realistic, but it becomes incredibly boring after listening to it for so long during this series. I had to skim some of it in order to finish The Crystal City. I listened to the audio version, so basically I sped up the narration to about triple the normal rate in parts, especially the dialogue. The Blackstone audio versions are very good, by the way, though I always had to speed them up. The narrator Stephen Hoye is particularly excellent in this series.

Itƒ??s not clear whether there will be any more books in the TALES OF ALVIN MAKER series. The ending is open and some readers will be disappointed that it doesnƒ??t tie up all the loose ends. Iƒ??m at the point that I donƒ??t care. Either way, Iƒ??m done with Alvin Maker. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
I'm bored with these books. I'm bored with the characters. At this point I keep going because I'm so far in already, I might as well see how it ends. ( )
  Snukes | Jun 14, 2013 |
Great mixture of AU satire pure comedy action adventure emotion wonder likeable characters and plot. A great read and a great addition to the Alvin Maker series. ( )
  yonitdm | Dec 9, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Card, Orson Scottprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nolan, DennisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It seemed like everyone and his brother was in Nueva Barcelona these days.
“That’s the French,” said Moose. “They may not know what’s right, but they know everybody else is wrong.”

Meanwhile, Arthur Stuart ran such errands for the house as a sharp-witted, trusted slave boy might be sent on. And as he went he kept his ears open. People said things in front of slaves, English-speakers especially said things in front of slaves who seemed to speak only Spanish, and Spanish-speakers in front of English-speaking slaves. The French talked in front of anybody.

Maybe that’s how God will get out of it, when he gathers us at his judgment seat and tries to explain why he let so many awful things go on. Maybe he’ll say, “Can’t you take a joke?”

More likely, though, he’ll just tell the truth. “I didn’t do it,” he’ll say. “I’m just the one who has to clean up your mess.” Like a servant. Nobody ever says, How can we make things easier for God? No. We just make messes and expect he’ll come around later and clean it all up.

“So you’re gonna teach me everything?”

“Everything I think of.”

“Who taught you?”

“My own stupid mistakes.”

“So if stupid mistakes have done so much for you, how come you won’t let me study from the same teacher?”

Alvin had no answer to that, just a laugh.

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Using the lore and the folk-magic of the men and women who settled North America, Orson Scott Card has created an alternate world where magic works, and where that magic has colored the entire history of the colonies. Charms and beseechings, hexes and potions, all have a place in the lives of the people of this world. Dowsers find water, the second sight warns of dangers to come, and a torch can read a person's future--or their hearts.

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